Autumnal Amsterdam: A Photo Essay

Find a patch of green, a park, a wild open space and come autumn the place will undoubtedly transform into a veritable treasure trove of gold and ruby red vegetation with a crunchy amber carpet of fallen leaves, often sparkling in the sunlight. And in that month before the carpet turns to a dull sludge, the world is truly magical!

Autumn Colour at No.34 the Begijnhof in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by


In most cities, you’d have to find the nearest park to indulge in a spot of autumn magic, but that’s what’s so great about Amsterdam. The tree-lined canals of the city centre mean that at this time of year, around every corner you’ll find another stunning autumnal scene! And one of the best things to do in Amsterdam is to soak up the atmosphere and get lost by wandering alongside the canals.

Autumn in Amsterdam - around every corner another stunning autumnal scene; from a travel blog by


Visiting at just the right time means that in addition to the gorgeous autumn colour, the tree canopy has thinned out enough that you can admire the beautiful canal-side architecture through the leaves and get views you’d otherwise find obscured through late spring and summer.

Autumn in Amsterdam thins out the tree canopy so you get to see buildings normally hidden; from a travel blog by


At the same time, scenes aren’t as stark and dull as when all leaves have fallen, leaving only angular twig skeletons to frame the streets.

Autumn along Amsterdam's canals; from a travel blog by


The image of the Westerkerk below illustrates just that: the tower is fully visible but with just a few golden leaves providing the perfect setting and in photography terms – great colour and composition.

The Westerkerk in Amsterdam set amongst autumn colour; from a travel blog by


Floating leaves on the water surface currently look beautiful and like dappled dots of light, but in another month or so will no doubt clag up the canal edges looking muddy.

Autumn Light on Amsterdam's Canals; from a travel blog by


Boats fill with leaves providing a wry smile – I certainly wouldn’t like to be the person who has to clear it all out before use!

Boats fill with leaves on Amsterdam's canals in autumn; from a travel blog by


And entrances to houseboats look all the more picturesque!

Houseboat entrance in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by


Some iconic buildings like the Rijksmuseum become more visible, with views normally hidden behind summer vegetation suddenly featuring in Instagram feeds. I loved being able to see architecture of the museum without all the people that congregate in front of the main entrance and the ‘IAmsterdam’ sign.

The Rijksmuseum in Autumn, Amsterdam; from a travel blog by


Similarly, many of the quaint frontages of houses in the Begijnhof courtyard are uncovered in autumn, normally disguised by a green canopy. As an enclosed courtyard the Begijnhof generally doesn’t receive as much light as neighbouring canals and squares; so with leaves mainly on the floor, we’re treated to an uninterrupted display of some of the finest architecture in Amsterdam, including the restored 15th century wooden house at no.34.

The Begijnhof Courtyard in Amsterdam in Autumn; from a travel blog by

Basically, autumnal Amsterdam just looks pretty and colourful and the light heavenly; but try not to get run down by cyclists while taking photo… after photo… after (yep, you guessed it)… photo!

And if wandering the canals aren’t enough for your autumn treasure trove, you can always head to one of the parks such as Vondelpark or Oosterpark.

My favourite place to soak up the autumnal atmosphere is along the Prinsengracht Canal between Leidsegracht and Leliegracht near the Westerkerk. Hopefully you’ll see why in the following photos and be as transfixed as I was.


Autumn on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by

Autumn on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by

Autumn on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by

Autumn on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam; from a travel blog by


Have you visited Amsterdam in the autumn? What’s your favourite season to visit the city?


Discover Autumnal Amsterdam, a blog by

Discover Autumn in Amsterdam, a blog by


  1. Jurga | 29th Nov 16

    Beautiful beautiful pictures! We wanted to visit Amsterdam this autumn too, but as it often goes with nearby paces, we kept postponing it a bit too long, and now it’s almost winter… Amsterdam looks so lovely in autumn!

    • Tilly Horseman | 29th Nov 16

      Thank you. I love autumn anywhere and like you I had a list of local UK places I wanted to see this autumn, but unfortunately didn’t get there in time and most of the leaves are now on the floor and going mushy. Hey, there’s always next year right?! Perhaps schedule it in for then… I do feel incredibly lucky to have seen Amsterdam at this time of year! ‘Brrrrr’ at the thought of winter…

  2. Amsterdamian | 29th Nov 16

    Lovely photos! And I’m glad you survived the cyclists’ attacks 😛 Amsterdam in autumn is gorgeous!

    • Tilly Horseman | 29th Nov 16

      Thank you! Yes, i think the canals are definitely at their most magical at this time of year! The cyclists are manic though – can’t believe so many of them literally cycle AT you!

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